Over the years I have encountered those who wanted to know why I started keeping a career journal. Thinking about it, I guess I always knew God had a better plan than I could dream up. I wanted to be able to one day go back and trace this journey. I find nothing more annoying than the phrase “You know, the rest is history”. It always makes me want to give the individual side eye. I want to say, “Please elaborate because I would like to know, and I am sure others would as well.” The “crust” of this blog is “How did I get here?” Flipping through my journal and reading various pages, random pieces of paper, and clippings I am reminded that I am a child of God. I am reminded that I am freaking amazing and awesome. My career journal is a constant reminder that when I don’t get what I think is the dream it’s because God has something even more amazing for me. My journal reminds me I am powerful, educated, and I’m certainly qualified for any gig I go after, because I have put in the work.
I urge you to trace your career path from its earliest beginnings through today. Don’t just look at your highlight reel; examine all the steps large and small that moved you forward. As Sheryl Sandberg states “Careers are jungle gyms, not ladders”, and if you need some guidance I love the advice of Jennifer Worick.
- Review your résumés. Look at old résumés and note what experience you once considered important to showcase.
- Pull out your files. Have you kept work samples, check stubs, statements of work, job descriptions, notebooks, or annual reviews? Read them and remember the challenging jobs you’ve had and how you mastered them.
- Review your emails. Do you have a trove of old emails tucked away in a folder somewhere? Pull out your old devices, open up those emails and scan the unnecessary threads, the dysfunctional missives your boss shot off in all caps, and best of all, the thank you notes.
- Praise be to you. Speaking of praise, remember all the clients and colleagues you’ve made happy throughout the years.
- Don’t forget the extra credit. When I was first got the helping bug. I did reception at a daycare center, and volunteered for several years as an after-school tutor